Power to the People ///Wage Act

There was a recent case which ruled that an employee can sue in the small claims session of the District Court (“Small Claims Court”) under The Massachusetts Weekly Payment of Wages Law (the “Wage Act”). The Wage Act is the most important protection for employees’ wages in Massachusetts. If your current or former employer has failed to pay you earned wages, including commissions and non-discretionary bonuses, and earned vacation, you can sue in Small Claims Court for three times the unpaid amount. This recent case was meaningful because, while there is a $7,000 limit that you can seek to recover in Small Claims Court, the Small Claims Court has the power to award, per the Wage Act, treble damages. Simply stated, if you are owed $6,500 you can sue in Small Claims Court for $6,500, and if you are successful, the Small Claims Court can award you three times that amount or $19,500. The purpose of Small Claims Court is to hear disputes involving modest amounts of money, without long delays and formal rules of evidence. Disputes are normally presented directly by the people involved.

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